Friday, February 27, 2009

My Funeral Song (A Long Time From Now).

I was asked today about what song I would want played at my funeral ... and here was my choice. Mostly because it is my favorite song in the world ... such soul. But also because it is a song of mourning. You'd think I would pick something more upbeat for my guests ... knowing that their hearts will be heavy ... but alas, this is my choice for now. Then afterward, perhaps they can play "It's a Beautiful Day" by U2 ... just to remind everyone that life is so damn wonderful ... and to embrace it fully....

What song would you pick???


Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Boy, His Dog & His Fish.

Doesn't my boy look so content? I love that look.
Please don't forget to sign up for my $30 Etsy Shop Anniversary Giveaway! And be sure to check out the shop for a $10 Anniversary Sale. As always, thank you for your support.
Lots of Love,

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Macropinna Microstoma: Truth is Stranger Than Fiction.

I am in awe of this fish ... and the wonders of the ocean. INCREDIBLE stuff that I just had to share. (My jaw was dropped through the whole video - ocean creatures fascinate me).

~ Jodi

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My Etsy Shop: 2nd Anniversary Giveaway!

(Pirate Pillows - my first etsy sale)

Two years ago this week, I began selling some of my handmade goodies on some new online "thingy" called Etsy. Now, Etsy itself is well-known and booming ... my sales have been steady both online and off ... my customers have been so friendly & generous ... I have made numerous treasured purchases from fellow sellers ... and I am ready to celebrate the success of it all with a giveaway!

I am giving away a $30 Gift Certificate to my shop!

And here is how it will work:

1. Please go to my Etsy shop. Take a peak around. Find something you like.

2. Come back to this post and make a comment (see below) about the item that you most like and why.

3. You will then be entered in the giveaway. Winner will be randomly selected on Wed. March 4th at noon EST.

BUT ... you can also earn extra entries if you do any of the following:

1. Follow this blog (see lower right) and earn an extra 5 entries into the drawing.

2. E-mail this post to at least 3 of your friends (cc me at and earn an extra 3 entries.

3. Make a purchase from the shop during the giveaway week and earn an extra 10 entries.

4. Blog about this giveaway (put link in comments section of this post) and earn an extra 5 entries.

Sound like fun?

ALSO ... please note that I will be giving away a handmade quilt soon as well ... in honor of a charity. Stay tuned to this blog for details.

Good Luck and Have a Wonderful Day.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Lots & Lots of Snow.

I look forward to telling you all about my big Etsy Anniversary Giveaway ... I really do. I intended to start it today ... but snow, birthdays, and laundry have prevented me from doing so. Instead, I leave you with today's "Appreciation" pic:

Enjoy your day!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Please Take a Look.

Hi friends.

I have decided that it may be time to branch out and create a blog that is exclusive to my photography adventures. Though photography will always be part of "This Handmade Life" ... I am hoping to grow my hobby into a business ... so a new blog seems appropriate for promotional as well as instructional purposes.

Anyway, won't you please take a look? It is still in its infancy, but I am excited to share the most recent post with you as one of my photos received a simple - yet well appreciated - honor by Shutter Sisters :)

Here it is:

Thanks for looking! Please "follow it" if you wish.

Love & Appreciation,

P.S. Please stay tuned to this blog for a great Etsy Anniversary Giveaway this week!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Weekend Goodies.

Hi friends ...
I have been going through my e-mails today and thought I would send along some special "freebies" for your weekend. Enjoy!

* 40% off Borders Coupon

* Dover Publication Printouts: here, here, here, and here ... etc.

* Need some cash? Sell some of your books on I did and got an extra $50.

*Play With Pictures free trial. Have some photo fun.

Have a GREAT weekend.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

A New Skill. Hopefully.

I am learning a new skill. Hooray. Thanks to my good friend Missy, I am finally learning to knit, something I have always wanted to try. Very exciting stuff.

She tells me there are loads of tutorial knitting videos on YouTube. I haven't explored that yet, but let me know if you find anything wonderful worth sharing. Meanwhile, I think I am going to try to tackle a hat for Isaac. Then ... who knows ...
Enjoy your day.

P.S. The above photo is also part of my 28 Days of Appreciation ... a Shutter Sisters One Word Project.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More Mister Rogers Love.

I took a short hiatus from my photography obsession this weekend to work on a bit of my sewing. As always, I enjoy incorporating a little Fred Rogers into my crafting ... as I just love the man to bits ... and looking at his smiling face makes the sewing that much more enjoyable.

So, here is a quilted pillow Fred Rogers pillow that I have placed in my shop ... not because I don't love it ... but because I have plenty :)
I hope you have a wonderful day ... and remember, there is no one in the whole wide world who is just like you. You are unique. And I love you just the way you are :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

A "President's Day" Confession.

I have a confession to make. And its not easy ... I am so going to be "keeping it real" here ... something that many bloggers in my genre try to avoid (so as not to lose readers) ... but I think my readers can handle this one. I hope. Because we all have our stuff. And we are all here to learn and grow. Again, I hope.

Well, recently I enjoyed a fascinating political conversation with a great new friend I will call "Fred". This conversation was so enjoyable because though we shared both similarities and differences in our opinions, we were quite happy to appreciate the viewpoints of the other. I am not sure how much he learned from me, but I can say that his insights as an active U.S. army soldier, police officer, fire fighter, child pornography detective (if that's what his title is --- basically he helps catch the bad guys who abuse kids), father of 8, homeschooler, Freemason, and chairman of several boards ..... caught my attention and respect. I know all this about him not because he boasted ... because he did not ... but rather because I inquired (as I often do - people fascinate me).

Anyway, I discovered a few things about myself during our deep conversation. And this is where my confession comes in. I voted for Barak Obama because he is black. I voted for a person based on race. I made a decision --- putting all my other values aside --- based on a person's skin color. This is not good. Please let me explain... (and please read all to get a full understanding, otherwise this statement will make little sense) ...

I am not a Democrat or a Republican. My personal and political values did not jive with either McCain or Obama. In fact, I have strong personal convictions against some of each of their political motives. However, there was a third party candidate that both my husband and I felt strong support for. On Election Day, my husband voted for that person. I even tried to talk him out of it by saying, "Honey, he is not going to win, so at least vote for the first black president. Make a statement for Isaac." My husband replied, "I am making a statement for Isaac, I am sticking to my values ... and trying to create a better future for him." I didn't listen to this reasonable argument. I just thought he was being ridiculous. I mean, there was no way our guy was going to win ... so why not make a different statement? So, when I entered the voting booth, with Isaac in hand, I checked Obama ... forgetting all the reasons why I did not want him to be my son's president. And I was proud of my decision.

On Inauguration Day, I like so many others, cried tears of joy at seeing our first "Black" President. And I was so very proud of our country for not dismissing a candidate based on his skin color. I still am. I am still VERY proud that our country has gone from slavery to a Black president in less than 200 years. I am very happy to see George W. finally leave office. And I am quite hopeful for our country's future. What I am now not so proud of is the means by which I made my voting decision.

See, had I not voted for Obama ... and voted my convictions and my truth ... I still could have celebrated the beauty of our country's choice of a black president. I still would have cried tears of joy. I still would have been hopeful for our future (as there is much about Obama that I am hopeful about). Please don't get me wrong, I am not sad that he is our President. Not at all. I am quite open to much of the change that he is encouraging ... I am already pleased with much of the direction he is already taking our country into. But, he was not the guy that I would have chosen for our president ... and because I take voting very seriously ... I should have stuck with my convictions and voted as if my ballot was the only one that was cast. That is how I believe everyone should vote ... but I didn't. I let race overrule my convictions. Me ... Mommy to Isaac ... chose someone based on race alone ... something I would never want done to my son. I would be mortified and enraged if my son got a job or a promotion based solely upon his "race". See where I am headed with this?

My new friend "Fred" lovingly showed me the error of my thinking on November 4th, 2008. And he did so without even knowing how I voted. And why does his opinion mean something to me? Well, I already mentioned some of the titles that he wears that caught my attention and admiration. He is a giving person who has put his life on the line on many occasions, in many different roles ... all because he truly loves people ... believes in liberty & happiness for all ... and is a bleeding heart in every sense (and I LOVE people who truly LOVE people). But more than that .... WAY more than that ... he is a loving husband and a devoted father to eight children ... two of whom are black. And when he explained to me why and how he voted ... and about what he told his black children regarding why it would certainly be wonderful to have a President that added some color to the White House ... they should not go against their beliefs in order to make that happen ... Well, I was humbled. And I learned something.

I am not sorry for how I voted --- as I don't believe in regret. I believe in learning and growing. I see now that my thinking was skewed ... and I will be more mindful regarding similar issues in the future.

Meanwhile, I will support my President ... hope for positive change ... and work on being the very best role model for my son. Every decision I make is with him in mind ... sometimes I'll get it right, sometimes I won't. But I will never give up on trying to do right by him.

Thank you for reading my "confession". Please don't hate me in the morning :)


P.S. Dear Cousin Nic --- you were right. Thanks for not rubbing it in.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Finding a Pet for Isaac.

For a long while, Isaac has been asking for a pet fish. Halis and I have always thought this was a great idea. A fish is something that Isaac could easily take care of without much help from Mommy and Daddy ... and he would certainly learn lessons in responsibility, compassion, etc.

So yesterday, while Daddy was out for the night, Isaac and I visited a couple of local pet shops ... with the idea that we would be picking out a fish. But, when Mommy began roaming the shops, she began to imagine that maybe Isaac (and Mommy) would be happier with a pet of the more cuter and cuddlier variety (something Daddy was worried about).

We first looked at fish ...

Then we checked out this guy ...
... but past experience has taught me that these guys are way too stinky ... no matter how cute they may be. Then Isaac got a kick out of these guys ...

... but Mommy didn't. I did however totally dig this little guy ...

... but Isaac didn't. And I in retrospect, I am glad for that, as this Chinchilla was a complete wild man! Then, I asked to hold some Guinea pigs. I have always loved their personalities ... and have wanted one since childhood. And I think I could have easily convinced Isaac (and maybe will in the future :)

But then I totally ooohhed and aaahhed over this sweet little parakeet. I could just imagine him sitting on Isaac's shoulders ... nibbling on his ears ... singing to us as the dawn rises. But Isaac just wasn't feeling it. He told me I could get a bird for my own pet ... but that he wanted either a fish or a turtle (a new thought for him).

I checked out the turtles ... but saw many signs around their cages warning about salmonella poisoning. So they were definitely out. And thankfully Isaac understood the reasoning. So, we were then left right back where we started ... picking out a fish.

And here he is (drum roll please...):

His name is Shark. He is a Beta fish (the easiest to care for)... and as soon as we brought him home, Isaac asked if it was time to take him out of the water and cuddle him. Oh boy .... I had to give Isaac the talk about how fish need to stay in water ... that they are the type of pet that you look at ... not that you play with. He began to understand, but is now rethinking his choice. So, Mama may get her Guinea pig or parakeet after all! Meanwhile. it has been only one day, and poor Shark seems to already be forgotten. BUT at least now I have a new little buddy to photograph :)

Enjoy your day & your pets ...



Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I've Taken the Plunge.

I have taken the plunge ... into the photography world ... of those who hope to sell their art. I have always been very shy about selling my photos ... insecure that others won't find my work as lovely as I do. And that may happen ... but I am jumping in anyway.

Please take a look and tell me what you think. This is only the beginning, but the beginning is always a great place to start :)

Thanks for all your encouragements thus far!


Monday, February 9, 2009

Please Help Me Out Here ...

Tell me, what do you think this bird is trying to communicate to me?

Looking forward to your creative thoughts ...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

New Toy.

Daddy made me a new toy for me this weekend, and I cannot get enough of it. Addiction would be an appropriate word here. Daddy rocks and he knows it.

After some scouting around on Google for the perfect plans to make a light box for photographing small items, he came up with this:

So simple. Yet the results are just so awesome (for my taste anyway):

The ideas for these pics have been floating around in my head for quite some time, and now they are a reality. Feels good. I have some more "irons in the fire", but these were my starting point.

They are all now available in my shop - as 5x7s - for just $10 each. (Pssst... please tell your friends!). I can mat them and frame them as well - all details are in my shop listings.

So, Halis wants kuddos for always being the hero that creates whatever it is I want at the moment. You should have seen him hustle to install fencing around our old one acre farm a few years back. He accomplished one acre of fencing in a weekend - and it came out perfect. All because a fox got one of my chickens and I cried. Daddy came to the rescue and the chickens were safe from then on. Anyway, thanks Halis - you are the best. Truly.

Hope you all had a great weekend!



Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Another very exciting part of our recent trip to Disney World, was meeting up with our "Orlando" cousins there ... my cousin Nicole and her sweet baby Adina. Nicole and her husband Murry just adopted Adina from Khazahstan ... and though they have been home with her for several months, we still had yet to meet her. Fortunately, Halis, Meg, Isaac and I had the privilege of spending the better part of a day with Nicole and Adina at our resort hotel ... eating, playing and swapping adoption stories. Our visit was wonderful ... and Isaac was absolutely smitten with his baby cousin Adina.

In fact, he asked if we could take her home with us because he wanted her to be his baby sister ...

They were absolutely adorable together. Isaac kept grabbing for her hand, determined that he was going to take care of her as she toddled along the resort sidewalks. He barely ever let go of her ... thinking that he needed to keep her safe and direct her around to where she could go while keeping her away from anything that might be dangerous. She - on the other hand - was not sure so that she needed his help :)

He still speaks of her, all these weeks later, telling me that she is his sister ... and that he misses her. Ahhh.... so sweet. Apparently, this need for a sibling is quite a theme for him lately. Everywhere we go, when we meet up with a baby (anyone under age 2), he asks if he can take the baby home to be his new brother/sister. And whenever he gets to thinking for awhile, he will initiate conversation about wanting a baby brother or sister (mostly sister).

So --- Daddy and I have been doing some thinking --- and have decided that before I give my ovaries up for good --- I will try again. Long story short, I had the great fortune to be seen by a leading fertility expert this week and am now being treated (with fertility meds, etc) in the hope that we get pregnant ... but with the comfort of knowing that if it doesn't happen, we will happily adopt a little brother or sister for Isaac. In fact, even if it does happen, we are looking forward to adopting again in the future --- as was always our intention for expanding our family.

Exciting days lay ahead. We will - as a family - be able to confirm the path(s) in which we will be taking to grow our family. I have been down this fertility road before ... but with high anxiety and grand expectations that only lead to disappointment. This time will most certainly be different ... I am a Mommy now. I am fully satisfied with my role and with the means by which it came to me. So, this trip down fertility lane will either bring a most welcome little one into our lives, or will confirm that those ovaries need removing ... and adoption papers need to be gathered in order to welcome our next sweet little one. Very exciting ...

All of this baby talk came before meeting our sweet new cousin, Adina. But I think she certainly did her part to confirm that there was "no time like the present" to begin the journey to our next baby. Isaac's love for her and for all the babies in his life is so genuine ... and so comforting. He wants a sibling, we want another child ... and watching him with Adina (and listening to him still talk about her) makes the timing feel right. We will certainly keep you posted on our journey.

As for dear sweet Adina ... we are all so glad you are home with your forever family. You have AWESOME parents who are wild about you ... AMAZING grand-parents who adore you ... much extended family who are absolutely in love with you ... and a cousin in Maine who wants desperately for you to be his little sister :) Life is good.



Sunday, February 1, 2009

Playing With Layers : On Picnik. just keeps getting better and better. It is an online "photoshop" ... and can be used for free ... in its most basic form. To get maximum benefit, one only needs to pay $19.95 a year (I do). Lately, I have been using it to try out some photo layering and am having so much fun with it! There are plenty of free textures out there (for your layering pleasure) as well as a Picnik group on Flickr where great advice is abundantly shared.

I have uploaded a bunch of textures ... and am just itching to create some digital fine art prints for home ... and for my shop. My fave so far is the one shown above. I have a thing for birds, so they may become a theme of mine. I also have a new thing for silhouettes ... so expect some of those as well.

Anyway --- just thought I'd share some of that info with all you other photography lovers. ENJOY!


P.S. I am still adding to my Disney photos and my Scavenger Hunt photos. Many new ones added this weekend. 2 of them even won some "virtual awards" from other Flickr members. Fun :)

P.P.S. Check out this amazing photo my friend just took on her recent vacation. I LOVE it.